Thursday, October 21, 2010

Curried Butternut Squash Soup - tastes like fall, but in India

My loves are asleep on the floor for the time being, an apple pie is in the oven, the dishes are (mostly) clean, and my hiccups are vanquished. Finally, I have time to sit down and write this post :)

First things first: I made caramel sauce today, from scratch. So proud! I feel more legitimate, somehow, as a person and a cook because of this. But that is another post for another time.

So, back last week when Mark had his wisdom teeth out (plus some) ... (and the week before that, actually), we ate a lot of soup. It is cheap. It is good for when you have dental work. It is delicious, and typically nutritious. And to me, it is a quintessential fall dish :)

Especially this one! It was a new recipe (I've been doing a lot of those lately ... most of them are wins, but I had a major fail last night. Let's just say savory bread pudding is not so savory, nor is it good - it just tastes like soggy bread. I think I'll stick with sweet dessert bread puddings with creme anglaise ... oh, yum!)

I keep getting off-topic.

Ahem. Where were we?

Oh, right. Soup. So, I found this recipe in one of my mom's old cooking notebooks (she has like pages and pages of recipes, and we went through them all the last time I was home), and it is SUCH a keeper.

You start with a basic Roasted Winter Squash recipe. I have no pictures of this step, because I have a new puppy, and had a sickly/sleepy/sore husband at the time. My hands were a little bit full.

Roasted Winter Squash
(This works for butternut, spaghetti, acorn, or just about any other winter squash you can think of.)

3 lb. winter squash
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Remove stem from squash, cut in half lengthwise, remove and discard seeds. (Or save them, roast them, and use them in something else!) Cut each half into 4 wedges, place on baking sheet lined with foil. (If using spaghetti squash, cut each half into 2 wedges.) Stir together butter and honey until blended. Brush squash evenly with butter mixture, then sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Bake at 450 degrees for 30-35 minutes until tender, turning once. Cut skins from squash wedges and discard.

Now we can move onto the soup.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
1 Roasted Winter Squash recipe
3/4 lb. unpeeled, medium fresh shrimp (I actually omitted the shrimp, making this a vegetarian dish, mostly because Mark couldn't chew anything at all. It was fabulous without the shrimp, and I also think it'd be fabulous with them - whatever your fancy!)
32-oz chicken broth
1/2 c. light coconut milk (I actually used the full fat to give the soup a little more thickness, and I probably used more than 1/2 c. Oh well.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. curry powder (I definitely used more curry than this, and I also used some Rogan Josh for an extra dimension of flavor. Be creative with your curry! I don't think you can go wrong...)
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Mash squash with a potato masher or fork, set aside.

Peel shrimp and devein, set aside. (Obviously, I omitted this step.)
Stir together broth and next 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven over med heat and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat.

(While I was doing this, I also added a step, and an ingredient - I sauteed about half an onion, in order to give the soup a bit more flavor. I just added the sauteed onion to the broth mixture before the next step.)

Process squash and broth mixture together, in batches, in food processor or blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Return mixture to Dutch oven, add shrimp, and cook over med. heat until thoroughly heated and shrimp turn pink. Sprinkle each serving with cilantro.

I really wish I'd taken a picture of the finished soup, because it was a lovely orangey color totally reminiscent of the season. Oh well. Next time.

It was so, so delicious (even without the shrimp.) The curry complimented the flavor of the squash in the most delightful way, and it was so simple and lovely. I love when food tastes like what it's made out of. (Sounds silly, I know, but it's not as silly as you'd think anymore...)

And now, my pie is calling. Loudly. That'll be another fun post for a different day....

Happy cooking!

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